Another Government Reinvention, Starting with Merger of Education and Labor Departments?

DC Shuttle …

President Proposes Government Reorganization. President Donald Trump proposed a full-scale government reorganization, titled “Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century: Reform Plan and Reorganization Recommendations.” The plans call to “merge the Departments of Education and Labor into a single Cabinet agency, the Department of Education and the Workforce.” Because many of the functions performed by the Education Department and the Labor Department are based in statute, it’ll be up to Congress to approve the changes. The proposal will face significant opposition in Congress, as the reshuffling will make it easier to cut and revise several domestic agencies. A timeline in the proposal says the Office of Management and Budget and agency officials will spend the summer working to build support in Congress. Immediate criticism had expressed concern that focus would shift to vocational training. House Education and the Workforce Committee Chair Virginia Foxx (R-NC) put out a statement in support of the merger. The Wall Street Journal reports.

DeVos Appoints Director of Early Learning.
U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that Tammy Proctor will become the new acting director of the Education Department’s Office of Early Learning. Proctor will take the lead of an office that has long operated without a director. The office was created during the Obama administration under former Education Secretary Arne Duncan in 2011, and headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy and Early Learning Libby Doggett from 2013 until the inauguration of President Trump. The office has been without a leading official since. Proctor comes to the job from within the Office of Early Learning, where she’s worked on the Preschool Development Grants, Preschool Pay for Success and Early Learning Challenge programs. She has also held positions within other department offices and in early learning in the D.C. metro area.

Meeting of the Federal Commission on School Safety. DeVos and Attorney General Jeff Sessions held the latest meeting of the Federal Commission on School Safety, focusing on media rating systems attached to content like video games and movies during. The Commission was launched by the Trump administration following the Valentine’s Day school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that left 17 people dead. DeVos and Sessions heard from experts with dueling views about the role of violent media in childhood violence and school safety. DeVos asked whether “current media rating systems” are efficient. And Sessions asked if data has shown whether children benefit when parents adhere to media rating systems. The meeting was expected to include all four cabinet members who make up the panel: DeVos, Sessions, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Azar didn’t attend the meeting because he accompanied first lady Melania Trump on a surprise visit to McAllen, Tex., where the two visited detention centers holding unaccompanied migrant children. Nielsen also didn’t attend the school safety meeting. On Tuesday, the Commission plans a listening session in Lexington, Ky.

House and Senate Committees to Hold Education Appropriations Markups. The House Appropriations Committee plans to mark up the broad $177.1 billion Labor-HHS-Education spending measureon Tuesday, the same day a Senate appropriations subcommittee is scheduled to mark up its $179.3 billion version of the bill (S.1771). The House’s draft fiscal 2019 spending bill to fund the Education and the Health and Human Services departments proposes about $110 million in reductions to programs meant to improve school safety and steer behavioral health services toward students.

We publish the DC Shuttle each week featuring higher ed news from Washington collected by the New England Council, of which NEBHE is a member. This edition is drawn from the Higher Education Update in the Council’s Weekly Washington Report of June 25, 2018. For more information, please visit:

Photo by Michele Orallo on Unsplash



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